Country road, take me home….

It was spring break for most of the schools in Atlanta last week. Most of my friends and neighbors were posting pictures from the beach on Facebook. A few of my friends broke with the crowd and went to the mountains.

My family loves to go to the mountains in the area where northeast Georgia meets western North Carolina. A couple of years ago, my parents rented a house in Highlands, North Carolina for a month at a time. Highlands is only a little over two hours away from Atlanta, so it was so nice to go up to the mountains for the weekend whenever we wanted to.

I love Highlands because there are tons of outdoor things to do like hiking and exploring waterfalls. There is a great nature center right in the center of town – I love to take the boys there – there is a bog garden, a garden full of native plants like mountain laurel and rhododendrons, lots of taxidermy of local wildlife and several live snakes, turtles and lizards. Perfect for boys!

There is also a cute gourmet grocery store where we go for coffee during the day. In the evening we like to go to the Wine Garden at the Old Edwards Inn for a drink before dinner. Here is the bar area  –  we like to sit a table rather than at the bar.




My sister in law’s sister got married at the Old Edward’s Inn several years ago. She had her rehearsal dinner at the Inn right by the pool – it was so pretty.


Old Edwards Inn 2


Here is the entrance to the Inn when you are on Main Street. The Wine Garden is on the left. Hint – if you stay here they have mini fridges around the Inn that have Dove ice cream bars!


Old Edwards Inn entrance


Here is The Farm, where my sister in law’s sister held her (spectacular!) wedding:




Here is the main “barn” – I danced the night away with my youngest, who was just a bitty then (he is 8 now, sniff).






Here is a view of the entrance to the property:




There is also a house on the farm property that my sister in law’s parents rented for the wedding. It is amazing!




Here is the kitchen. We went for drinks on the back porch – this house was so cute!



Highlands and its sister town (20 minutes away) Cashiers hold a special place in my heart. It’s an area surrounded by spectacular waterfalls, hiking trails and gorgeous views of the Smoky Mountains. The air has a fresh smell that you just don’t get in the city. There are lovely rhododendrons and mountain laurel everywhere.


North Carolina also was a favorite for designer Charles Faudree. I love this home that he designed in Cashiers.


Charles Faudree 12


Most of the homes in the Highlands/Cashiers area have lots of wood on the walls and ceilings. I like how Faudree used it just on the ceiling here.


Charles Faudree 4


I’m not usually a plaid lover, but this is perfection. I love how Faudree painted the ceiling in the dining room. I love the walls, aren’t they gorgeous! And the antler chandeliers – everything is just perfect!


Charles Faudree 3

Love the railing here. We’ve rented several homes in the area, and people can go crazy with the “mountain” theme. Faudree was so excellent at creating an environment. This home feels like you are at the mountains without having to have bear doodads everywhere. Love the fabric on the chairs!

We spent the last half of spring break in the North Georgia mountains. It was fun, but it’s not as pretty as Highlands. We came back Saturday, so I had a couple of days to get ready for the week, but it sure was hard getting up at 5:30 yesterday and going to work!


Charles Faudree 2


So, are you a mountain person, or a beach person. Or both?




Cheap date night with tapas and tile!


Last Thursday, Porcelanosa had a grand opening party for their new showroom. One of the perks of my job is that my vendors have events from time to time – there is always good food, music and drinks. We get a babysitter and have a cheap date night out! It’s always fun! Porcelanosa is a Spanish company, so the party served tapas and had Spanish music and dancers for entertainment.


This grand opening party had more guests than any other vendor event I’ve been to. Guest were very chic, too! I tell you, designers are some stylish people – there was fashion inspiration everywhere! I learned a new thing or two!


I really like Porcelanosa tile – I haven’t used it yet, but I’m going to get more familiar with it. The store manager made me a sample kit a few weeks ago with a bunch of pretty gray and white tiles. Porcelanosa has a more contemporary European feel, which is just gorgeous in the right situation.  Here’s a pretty gray and white bathroom with Porcelanosa tile. That’s an impressive shower, isn’t it?



I like the texture of this tile running vertically. It’s a nice way to add interest while still keeping with white tile (you know how I love a white backsplash!)
Here’s another gray and white bathroom. I like the soft variation of grays in the wall tile.



Here’s another bath with this textured tile. It’s pretty obvious I like this tile, isn’t it? Do you think you could use textured tile in your home?




Black and blue and white all over

Recently, a neighbor needed help with her kitchen renovation, so I’ve been designing her kitchen with her. She really likes the idea of a blue island with white counters and white cabinets with black counters for the perimeter cabinets. Here is one of our inspiration pictures. Aren’t those pendants pretty?



Black and blue has been big in fashion for awhile and now it’s showing up in design. I love the clean lines of the cabinets in this more contemporary kitchen. The blue of this island coordinates really well with the black counters on the perimeter cabinets. I love the black pendants. I also really like how the island is on legs – it makes it feel lighter.



I really like the deep indigo of this island. It’s almost black, but just blue enough to be different than the black counters. For me personally, I feel like these pendants are a bit too small. I’m really into large-scale pendants right now.



This is my favorite of the black and blue and white kitchens. The blue is just perfect. The pendants are so beautiful – I just love them! My client does not want hardwoods in the kitchen, so we are installing tile. She has selected a slate, so that is a color we are going to have to work with. I feel like hardwoods are more of a neutral, so we are going to have to make sure the blue of the island works with the slate.



Here’s what we have selected so far:


Perimeter cabinets will be white shaker with a Leathered Black Pearl granite counter. The island will be a blue color with Caesarstone Frosty Carrina counters.




The floor will be a 12×24 slate tile called Squall.


Squall is so pretty in person. It’s an even gray with no orange. I just love the way it looks. I’ve used it and it’s darker cousin Black Blizzard. I really love the way natural stone looks. And, believe it or not, it’s not terribly expensive – right now it’s at about $7 a square foot retail. It’s not Home Depot prices, but for natural stone, it’s very reasonable.


This is the drum shade pendant we are considering for over the table:


drum shade pendant



Here are the Circa Lighting pendants we probably will do over the island. LOVE these!


katie pendant                                                                katie pendant



Do you think you could mix blue and black in your kitchen?

Lavender – I never dreamed I would like it so much!

We hosted Easter dinner for my parents and my brother and his girls (my sister-in-law had to work, boo!). I set the table with my favorite china and a little bunny vase I picked up at Goodwill. I filled it with hyacinths I got at TJ’s and then I put little blue and white covered dishes on either side of the bunny vase.

As I was eating dinner, I was struck at how great the lavender of the hyacinth looked with the blue and white. (I also love blue and purple hydrangeas in a blue and white vase.) I’ve never been a huge fan of purple in decor, but I am warming up to the idea of a soft grayed down lavender. It looks especially pretty with a dark blue like in this London apartment:




I’m so looking forward to hydrangea season – I hope we have a better year than we did last year! My hydrangeas barely bloomed at all and the blooms I got were green and purple! Here are some pretty blue and purple hydrangeas in the same London home. I like how the designer mixed blues and purples in this chair. Do you think nature was an inspiration?




Here’s an edgier mixing of blue and lavender by Ruthie Sommers. The purple walls are so dark they are almost black. I love the acid green against it!




Isn’t this lavender paper by de Gournay gorgeous?


De Gournay lavendar


Here is a lavender dining room. It’s so pretty and feminine. I like how the overall feel is a creamy white with pops of lavender. The color is an accent here and not overwhelming.




LOVE the blue and white mixed with pops of purple here. This makes me want to like straight up purple, which I’m usually not a fan of in decor. This is so pretty!




Here’s a NYC living room by one of my favorite designers, Ashley Whittaker. I love how she mixed different tones of lavender. Notice how the wallpaper in the entry reads as purple even though it is a pattern. Ashley Whittaker is so great with color.


ashley wittaker lavendar


And a living room in the Hampton’s home of my favorite tastemaker, Aerin Lauder. LOVE the lavender walls with the blue and white. Spot on – so elegant and fresh. Yum!


Aerin Lauder Lavendar Living Room


So what do you think about lavender, could you use it in your home?

Atlanta Junior League Tour of Kitchens, part deux…


On Sunday, I had my act together and went and got my mom around 11am, which meant we had more time to see homes. It also meant we got to go out to lunch at Farm Burger, yum! I got the burger with tomatillo salsa, bacon and fried egg. Delicious!

Here is a home that is in a more suburban part of town. It is owned by a builder who bumped out the back of the house to enlarge the kitchen. Check out the counters  – they look like stone, but they are a quartz-like porcelain material called Neolith. They really did have the look of marble – but they don’t have the cold feel. The bonus of Neolith is that they are pretty indestructible according to the manufacturer. The slabs are super thin, so the edges need to be mitered – it’s important that you get a good fabricator to do this so it looks seamless.

If you look to the right, you see the dark wood cabinetry of the bar in the former dining room. There is also a baby grand in the room – you can just see the edge of it in the bottom right of the photo. This part was not my favorite – I think something like this belongs in a basement, not as your first welcome to a home. It was well done, but just not in the right place.



This home was designed by the homeowner. The owner had some really creative ideas.To the left of the fridge is a pullout that he designed that holds utensils. Notice the black french doors to the right lead to a butler’s – it holds two dishwashers, a double oven and a sink. So convenient – you can stash those dirty dishes there and close the doors to hide the mess when you are hosting a party! My favorite part of this kitchen is the butler’s and the ceilings. The only change I would make is to put a solid panel at the ends of the island rather than the two legs where you can see through to the stools. Very nice kitchen!




This kitchen was one of my mom’s favorites. I love the soft light taupe of the cabinets. This is just a soft, pretty, elegant kitchen. Topped off by an amazing vent hood! So pretty. And those Hicks pendants – gorgeous. This is just such a pretty kitchen. Don’t you find it interesting that none of these kitchens are white? Most of the kitchens I do are white shaker and only a couple on the tour were white. Do you think this is a leading edge to a trend? Are we moving away from white?




This was one of the more contemporary kitchens. This is really pretty, but it strikes me as a kitchen for someone who doesn’t cook that much and has their parties catered. It’s gorgeous design, though – LOVE the stone! Notice how it goes around the uppers over the range. Nice detail! Also, check out the butler’s to the right. Basically full kitchen there, with a door out to the driveway so the caterer can come in. That’s the life, right? 😉




This was another of my mom’s favorites. I love the creamy color of the perimeter cabinets. The two islands are so pretty – they look like pieces of furniture. Look at the door on the right that is just left of the range. That door doesn’t go anywhere – it’s actually the fridge! Isn’t that clever? The panel was made to look like a door to mirror a real functional door opposite it. Symmetry was very important in this house. Lots of special details here! Of course I love the two blue and white lamps on either side of the sink! Loves me some blue and white!




This kitchen believe it or not, was my mom’s absolute favorite!!! Mine, too. She usually loves very traditional, so I was surprised when she loved something a little edgier. This kitchen is by the amazing Ladisic Fine Homes. We saw a home by Ladisic not long ago at the Cathedral Tour of Homes. That home was the builder’s personal home. You can just look at this and quickly know it’s a Ladisic – he has a very distinct style. Notice the brass edging around the stone backsplash. Remember that detail in this bar area of the dining room here?


It was funny, right when we drove up to this house, my mom said, Haven’t we been inside this house? I said, No, we’ve never been on this street. The minute we walked in, we knew it was a Ladisic home. I love the attention to detail here – the rough-hewn beams, the iron windows, the brass trim, the raised wood bar on the island – I could go on and on.  Of course there’s a butler’s – it’s through the doorway to the right of the range. It basically was another, smaller full kitchen. I bet some amazing catered parties are held here! Every detail was amazing – this really was the showstopper.




Can you guess which kitchen was my favorite?

Atlanta Junior League Tour of Kitchens

This past Saturday and Sunday was the Atlanta Junior League’s annual tour of kitchens. My mom loves to go to show homes, so I invited her to go with me. Saturday, my youngest had a soccer game at 12:30, so I wasn’t able to leave for the tour until close to 2:00. I rushed over to my parents’ apartment building in Buckhead, which is an area filled with traffic, even at 2:00 on a Saturday, so it took me close to 45 minutes to travel about 10 miles.

I got to the building and pushed the buzzer at the main door. My dad answered – I asked him if mom was coming down. He said, Don’t you remember? We’re at your brothers? I thought you were picking Mom up here? Urghh! I didn’t have time to go back and get her – it would take me another 45 minutes to get to my brother’s since he lives near me! Argh! So, Mom didn’t get to join me Saturday since the tour was over at 4:00. She did join me on Sunday and there were some great homes that day.

I only had time to see four houses on Saturday, so I chose houses that were close to Buckhead. Pictures are from the Atlanta Junior League online brochure.

The first kitchen was pretty contemporary. They went with very high end appliances and plumbing. The faucet didn’t have a handle – there is a little light beam that comes out in the toe kick, you wave your foot to break the beam, and the water turns on – isn’t that crazy?

I like the color of the cabinets and the stone was just gorgeous.


The second house was cute, but not my favorite. They had a big island and then a “table” built out of cabinets and stone and jammed into the corner of the island. They had a great laundry room, though. The laundry had pretty dark gray cabinets everywhere  – cabinets for the kids’ backpacks and shoes, cabinets for cleaning supplies and cabinets around the washer and dryer. It was so organized – I loved it! There are no photos of the kitchen, just this:



The third house I went to was my absolute favorite from Saturday. It was in a little neighborhood of adorable homes that looked like they came out of a New England village (but they were relatively new). The kitchen was not that big, but everything was super organized and everything had a place. The cabinet designer was really sweet – she opened up just about every drawer and door for me. The colors were really pretty – the cabinets were soft greyed down cream and the stone was a gorgeous Taj Mahal quartzite. Loved!

Notice the ceiling – isn’t it gorgeous? There was amazing attention to detail in this house.




One of my favorite details was the backslash behind the range. I love how the quartzite goes from the top of the range to the bottom of the hood. Check out that little scalloped detail at the bottom. So pretty. The hood was amazing – it’s a limestone that has been crushed up and mixed with a resin (kind of like how Caesarstone is made). That way, they can use less of it – solid limestone would be way too heavy to use. I just loved how this kitchen was so soft and warm – it had a bit of a French feel to me too. Well done!




I got to my last house of the day at 10 minutes to four. This kitchen was really pretty too. The cabinets were cedar with a soft warm gray wash. The perimeter counters were a gorgeous Perla Venata quartzite. It’s amazing in person. I used it in the penthouse remodel – this stone looks good no matter where you use it!




In my next post, I’ll share with you the homes from Sunday – there were some showstoppers! Which kitchen is your favorite?

Lobster tacos and pillows…

The weather’s been just incredible lately – flowers are blooming, birds are chirping and best of all, I wore short sleeves yesterday! Not only has the weather been perfect, I’ve had lots of fun things to do. On Wednesday night, Ferguson had a party celebrating the opening of their new showroom. Their old showroom was nice, but the new one is really pretty. It’s about twice the size of their old one and everything is sparkly and new. I don’t always meet my clients there, but it’s really fun when I do. Their showroom is above Hermes in the fancy shopping district, so even though I will probably never shop in the designer stores, it’s fun feeling fancy when I go there. The party was in the Ferguson showroom – they had chefs preparing lobster tacos, salmon and sushi in their working kitchen. The girls from the showroom were there, too – it was fun to chat with them in a non-work situation.


Yesterday, I had a lunch and learn at Century Furniture sponsored by Sherwin-Williams. They had yummy salad and little sandwiches and water in a glass pitcher that was filled with sliced citrus. Before we ate, there was a talk on metamerism. What in the heck is metamerism? It’s just a fancy way of saying that colors look different in different lights. Like, you know how those lovely florescent lights in the store dressing room just make everyone look green? That red shirt you try on in the changing room probably will look different when you get it home and look at it under your incandescent light, which is warm.


The main message from the class was that if you love a paint color at your friends house down the street don’t just go buy it and throw it up on your wall. It will look different in your house – your room may be facing a different way, or you may have different lighting. Test your colors before you paint!


Last night, I went to a neighbors house to celebrate our friend’s new job. She went from a family unfriendly school administrator job that had a horrible commute and long hours and no summers off to a teaching position at a high school a few minutes away. After having stayed home and worked from home for my husband for so long I have to say it is really challenging to work full time and never have any time off and also raise a family. I am really happy for my friend – I’m so glad she found something that works better for her family!


We gathered in my neighbor’s sunroom last night and the first thing I noticed were her fabulous new blue pillows piled up on her sofa. I asked her OOOhhh are these new? And she said yes, they were her Christmas present. I like that idea – I’m might just have to ask Santa for pillows this year! She said she found them on etsy – the company is called Pill-o-matic.  The owner, who is in L.A., started her shop when the sofa she bought came with ugly pillows. Here’s one of the pillows you can choose from. (Click on the photos go to the  site.)


beverly hills leaf print


Look what you can get! Weren’t we just talking about fabulous leaf prints?


I like this navy pillow. I like how it’s graphic without being over the top graphic-y.

navy chevron pillow


This is one of the blue pillows at my neighbor’s house. Pretty!


pagoda pillow


Here’s the coral color way. Pretty!!!! I love the colors in this one!


coral pagoda pillow


Here’s a fun spotty print. It kind of reminds me of a dalmatian and kind of like this print.


dalmation print pillow.jpg


This would be cute in a coastal cottage.


coral navy pillow


And my classic favorite – cheetah. Lurves this!


velvet cheetah pillow


Updating pillows is an easy and relatively inexpensive way to refresh your decor. Which pillow is your favorite?